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CHICAGO – June 12, 2014 – Tony Freytag, senior vice president of sales and marketing for Crunch Pak® received the 2014 Produce Man of the Year award from The Packer on June 11 at the United Fresh show in Chicago.
“This year we recognize product innovation. It’s been said one of the toughest things in marketing is to convince consumers to crave a product they don’t even know they want,” said The Packer’s editor Greg Johnson when introducing Freytag.
Freytag, senior vice president for sales and marketing at Crunch Pak, had the idea to sell fresh sliced apples and had the insight to pursue the innovation, Johnson said.
Freytag and two partners started Crunch Pak with an idea for preserving fresh apples that he sliced and tested in his home kitchen. Today Crunch Pak is the leading sliced apple specialist with more than 45 percent of the U.S. market and expanding into the healthy snacks and meal replacement categories that include other fresh items such as grapes and carrots.
Johnson said part of what earned Freytag the recognition are testimonials from his colleagues, who call him an innovator, collaborator and mentor. Collaboration was a key to Freytag’s success with his sliced apple idea.
“He said a few years ago about selling fresh-cut apples ‘Many folks thought we were pretty crazy, but we believed the timing was right,’” Johnson said. “With the help of a couple similar minded innovators, they first worked out the technology for a sliced apple consumers would like, one that didn’t turn brown, and then he started marketing it.”
Freytag’s marketing efforts have been as innovative as his initial idea, Johnson said.
“If you’re going to connect with consumers, you need may need some help, and who better to call in than Spiderman, Hulk, the X-Men, Captain America, Mickey Mouse, Cars, some Disney princesses, maybe even Anna and Elsa from Frozen.” Johnson said. “Our honoree’s product has associated with some of America’s most popular children’s characters, and that is as good a strategy as any to get sliced apples into the diet of kids across the country. It also helps when the biggest fast-food chains start adding sliced apples to kids meals, many of which our honoree’s company supplies.”
Originally from Austin, Texas, Freytag’s career in produce began with Naumes, Inc., of Medford, Oregon, in 1997 where the idea of sliced apples was first introduced. Prior to joining the produce industry, Freytag held several management positions specializing in inventory and sales programs for retailers including Bloomingdales, Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus.
Freytag was named one of the fresh produce industry’s top 25 most influential leaders by The Packer magazine for his passion and commitment to the business. He serves on various industry boards including the United Fresh Association and the Produce Marketing Association and in Washington state as a member of the Public Facilities District Board of Directors. In 2014 he was named Innovator of the Year by the Greater Wenatchee Area Technology Alliance.
Freytag and his wife, Leslie, live in Wenatchee, Wash., and Seattle. They have two grown children.
About Crunch Pak®
Crunch Pak® is the industry leader in fresh sliced apples. Founded in 2000, Crunch Pak® is committed to providing the highest quality organic and conventional sliced apples in the market. Crunch Pak’s family of brands includes Crunch Pak® Organics. The primary distribution is via retail channels; annually Crunch Pak creates more than 1 billion apple slices at plants in Cashmere, Wash., and New Jersey One Slice at a Time©.